Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams
Does this game need any introduction? Gamers know what to expect from an Onimusha game and those expectations are completely fulfilled in Dawn of Dreams. A beautiful level design and a very deep gameplay added with a story that sometimes tends to lose track but does its best to keep the game compelling at all time.
The Genma demons and the diabolic Nobunga are defeated, the Onimusha seem to have no more reasons left to keep fighting but after a mere 15 years all hell breaks loose in the land of the rising sun. The new emperor Hideyoshi orders the ‘harvesting’ of all cherry trees and in the mean time, the Genma demons make a new appearance, supported by that same emperor. It is back to the Onimusha to get things straight again and bring yet again peace in Japan.
The storyline clearly does not even try to be original but that is not really something to complain about this time. Katanas and battle swords are always cool and while you are trotting through the game, you will be more than once amazed that you are playing this on the Playstation 2. The graphics are simply stunning although the colour palette of Genji seemed a bit more vibrant and vivid to me.
There is nothing bad to say about the other technical aspects either because the sound too is very well produced; you will find yourself immersed by a Japanese feudal fantasy world in no time. Great work, great work indeed…
More importantly however than graphical beauty and other technical tour de forces is the gameplay and for a clichéd genre as this, it nears perfection. Dawn of Dreams knows a well-balanced variation between mini puzzles, battles and walking around although a bit more action would not have hurt the game at all. The five playable characters not only have their diverse talents and flaws but their own storyline too which pushes the replay value a bit higher, yet again. Apart from that you will have more than once a NPC in your team, which you can easily give some basic commands to get rid of the closing enemies.
The rest is all about charging souls, looking after items and weapons and performing one combo after another. those combo’s can be more easily rigged together when you keep your eyes and ears open to learn new and special talents. You can of course upgrade your character en load him with talismans, battle dresses and all sorts of jewellery with healing powers.
Although this genre tends to be generic, Onimusha succeeds in giving it an original twist with perfect controls, deep gameplay and beautiful graphics. The story is a bit hard to follow sometimes but you will just keep playing and playing because after every cut scene, it only gets better and better.